A trip away! Oh what glorious words. For two years I have been trapped in my home city while plague assaulted the barricades and my personal sanity leaked out my ears. Now however the plague has subsided or at least our level of concern about it has and I am free to spread my wings. So I'm off to... Melbourne.
Yes, a bit of an anticlimax there but you know, baby steps. There was a war gaming competition I wanted to attend and for reasons of sheer perversity (and the fact that the organisers lived there) it was to be held in Melbourne. I tacked a couple of extra days on and wound up spending a full week in Australia's southern capital. My excitement as the day to leave drew nearer was intense. In fact my excitement was so intense that it almost survived contact with Sydney airport.
I have in the past, on this very blog, been a little less than enthusiastic about Sydney's gateway to the world. Indeed I've always thought they should have a sign on the way out saying "Welcome to Sydney, Don't Worry the Worst is Over". Well no more, I approached its dimly lit hallways with a rarely felt sense of satisfaction and delight. If only I could spend more time nestled in its concrete bosom.
Fortunately Qantas heard my silent prayer. Dire warnings of delays as travel crazed passengers clawed and bit at each other for the opportunity to get onto a plane, any plane had prompted me to turn up with plenty of time. Two hours for a domestic flight the doomsayers had suggested and I skipped out of work a bit early so I could arrive two hours before my 6.45pm flight.
Tumbleweeds were rolling through the airport when I arrived. The tiny handful of people huddling within its vast confines did little to counter the impression that I had walked into a large, abandoned warehouse. It took all of my self control to stop myself from ripping copper wiring out of the walls. After successfully dispatching my luggage on its own journey to Melbourne and passing through security in thirty seconds I settled down for the two hour wait until my flight was due to depart. Once I was done with that I then settled down to wait the extra two hours until my plane actually departed. I was actually due in Melbourne before my plane left the ground in Sydney. By the time I had reintroduced myself to my luggage in Melbourne and made it to my hotel it was sufficiently late that I was in danger of having my reservation cancelled. Fortunately thanks to covid they were desperate for the business and were probably prepared to hold my room for a fortnight if need be.
Realising that it had screwed up a little Qantas pulled out all of the stops on my return journey to ensure I wouldn't be kept hanging around at the airport. My flight was at 11.30am and on 5.30pm the previous day they texted me to say it was cancelled. After an hour and a half futilely going in circles on their website I received another text saying they had booked me on a flight three hours earlier instead. A couple of hours later they texted me again to tell me that flight was cancelled as well. Finally they sent me another text telling me I was booked on an even earlier flight. I'm pretty sure they would have booked me on a flight a couple of days ago if they could have worked out the temporal physics involved.
Once they got my sleep deprived self onto a plane Qantas just couldn't let go. It was announced that we would have to circle Sydney airport for a while (possibly until the cabin crew threw up). They blamed air traffic control but I couldn't help getting the feeling that Qantas was flirting with me. Sorry, I meant fucking with me. When I got out of the airport in Sydney it was raining because it always is whenever I arrive home from a trip away. My taxi driver accused me of bringing the rain with me but I pointed out that it was always here waiting when I arrived.